January 22, 2008 Degenkolb Engineers’ Principal Kent Yu Wise Beyond His Years Portland, Oregon Download PDF

Kent Yu, Associate Principal and manager of Degenkolb Engineers’ Portland office, was recognized as one of Building Design & Construction magazine’s top “40 Under 40.” Dr. Yu’s acumen in the office and his dedication to improving public policy, reaching out to the community and shaping the minds of future engineers earned him a position among the distinguished honorees.

“Having an engineer of Dr. Yu’s caliber on our team at Degenkolb is a great asset, and to be so accomplished at this point in his career is truly astounding,” said Chris Poland, CEO of Degenkolb Engineers.

Selecting from 275 applicants, the recognition program profiles 40 “young architects, engineers, contractors, designers, and developers [who represent the] next generation of leadership.” In its third year, the award spotlights pacesetters of the AEC industry according to criteria set forth by BD&C editors.

About his award, Dr. Yu said, “It is an honor to be recognized among my colleagues for the hard work we all do every day. Cutting-edge projects are always on the roster at Degenkolb. I feel fortunate enough to come to work and collaborate with the industry’s top minds on innovative solutions to new challenges. Earthquake engineering is my passion, and it is nice to be awarded for something I love to do.”

Dr. Yu, 38, currently leads the design team on renovations to Fire Station #1 in Downtown Portland. Upon completion of this project, the largest fire station in Portland will meet the Immediate Occupancy performance objectives as an essential building for a 500-year earthquake.

Alongside a reconnaissance team from the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute of Oakland, Calif., Dr. Yu traveled to the coast of Central Peru following the deadly earthquake that struck in August 2007. Dr. Yu and the team volunteered their time to study the structural performance of hospitals and schools, as well as other engineered structures in the affected areas of the country. By the end of the trip, the team provided expert advice and made recommendations to Peruvian officials on the safety of damaged buildings and whether the buildings were repairable, inhabitable, or would require demolition or reconstruction.

In April 2007, Dr. Yu began his four-year tenure on the Oregon Seismic Safety Policy Advisory Commission(OSSPAC), a public policy group that promotes earthquake awareness and preparedness through education, research and legislation at the federal, state and local levels. Most recently, the commission assessed the earthquake risks of Oregon schools and made recommendations to the Oregon State Board of Education and the Oregon Office of Emergency Management.

In his effort to cultivate the next generation of “40 Under 40” contenders, Dr. Yu taught graduate courses on the principles of earthquake engineering at both San Francisco and Portland State universities. His tenure at Portland State coincided with the publication of “Earthquake Engineering,” a graduate-level university textbook to which Dr. Yu contributed.

Dr. Yu earned his Ph.D. in Structural Engineering from the University of California, San Diego. He also holds a Masters in Engineering and Bachelor of Science from Tongji University in Shanghai, China. Dr. Yu is a member of the Structural Engineers Association of Oregon, Earthquake Engineering Research Institute, American Society of Civil Engineers and the Association for International Cooperation and Research in Steel-Concrete Composite.